IWA Trailboat Festival 2017 at Moira Furnace
I’m not sure I should say this as the festival proper doesn’t open till Saturday and there is plenty of time for it to change. BUT its unusual in that the sun has been out all day as a significant number of boats have been arriving at Moira Furnace (via the Conkers slipway) and people can be seen in shorts and t-shirts, as it’s actually warm going on hot and people are seeking shade under trees along the tow-path.
At the present time there are 14 boats here of which 10 are Wilderness. It is rumoured that there are 30 boats scheduled to arrive for the weekend event. A significant number for the Moira Boat festival, which has the IWA festival piggy backed on to it.
The site is still being populated with marquees being erected. The good news is the beer tent is up but the bad news is there is no beer in it yet and as a result it isn’t open 🙁
For those coming with their boats to the event, as this is being written, the top on site slipway access is still blocked with bags of concrete. It is understood that these will probably be removed tomorrow (Friday).
More reports as the weekend unfolds, check back to see the latest instalment.
Friday 26th May
Another warm, bright and sunny morning which promises to be hot later on.
An update on the access to the top slipway and top site which was unblocked first thing, with the bags of concrete being moved to one side. This also allowed access to the new field, very close to the top slipway, where car and trailers were due to be parked and a request was made by the harbourmaster for those who had parked yesterday by the beer tent to move them up to this site.
The field was not the largest and boaters took it on themselves to organise where rigs were parked, taking into account the departure date so some could be blocked in by those leaving before them to maximise the available space.
The great thing about these events is you get to meet old friends who have a wide variety of boats.
Norwood, a cara cruiser, the pictures showing it before and after launching and its trailer that locks into the hull but detaches easily.
This is Markie, a Winkle Brig, using the top slipway, to an onlooker a very easy launch with its break back trailer. This is an elegant craft which puts on a simple but very effective light display using it’s 28ft mast to great effect.
This is Helter Skelter, a beautifully restored Caraboat, which is a regular attendee at these events. Underneath this trailboat the wheels are still attached. It makes for a very quick launch and retrieval.
“Big” Annie Rose, so nicknamed as she is a Beaver 23, who has a smaller sister, a 19ft Otter, also called Annie Rose. Both were beautifully fitted out by Dave and Liz Smith. “Big” Annie Rose was one of the last main production boats built by Ian Graham in the early 2000’s. It was sold some time ago but more recently was bought back again by Dave and after lots of hard work is now looking immaculate. Here you can see her on the top slipway.
The last boat to arrive was Haricot who’s owners left after work and battled through the bank holiday traffic to arrive around 8pm, and made use of the Beaver’s “caravan” mode to sleep on its trailer before launching in the morning. This Beaver is one of the new 2 part boats to be built by Wildernesstrail Boats.
So another hot, dry day with 26 boats on site by the end of the day. As the temperature cooled some boaters took to sitting on the bank enjoying an evening meal, some G&T’s and some wine and good conversation between themselves and passing boaters.
And the final good news is that the beer tent has opened this evening. The event opens officially tomorrow.
Saturday 27th May
So the sun is out after a couple of brief showers, the flags are out on the boats, the start of the event is here and the people are starting to arrive.
There appears to a lot going on on site for the visitors. For boaters, there was at times, a lack of information across all the boats of what was happing and when but a parade of boats did happen after the duck race. Unfortunately, it was around this time the clouds got darker. It did not rain but the wind did get up, which made it difficult for the flags on the boats to stay up and to control the boats in the boat handling competition.
The last of the boats arrived after it had a bit of a false start and the secure parking field was finally declared full.
It will be interesting to see if all the parking plans work out when it comes to the time for us all to depart.
At 5.30pm (ish) the WBOC AGM was held in the beer tent after the local ukulele group had finished their concert. This proceeded swiftly through the agenda, with the current committee re-elected. Various topics were discussed and finally various WBOC awards were made.
The “bottom” award was given to our boat builder Ian Graham (on the left), for travelling many miles to the event with his keys on the top of his car. The person who made the award is Dave Smith, here shown on the right.
The best illustrated article award was made to Bernard & Joyce Snell shown on the left. It was presented by Helen Huish, the WBOC newsletter editor.
The “Ward” award was presented by David Ward (on the left) to John Parker who won the photo competition.
After the AGM many boaters got busy with dressing their boats in lights ready for the illuminations scheduled to start at 9.30pm. This was due to be a procession but it had become very windy so the decision was taken to do it on the moorings. One advantage of this was the boaters had time to go and look at everyone else’s efforts which was a pleasent change.
Then it was off to the beer tent for a nightcap.
Sunday 28th May
So here we are at the start of the final day of the festival. The weather looks set fair for the day and the visitors were soon clamouring to get in.
There was lots for people to see and these pictures are just an example of what was available.
Then of course there were boats aplenty.
.And if that wasn’t enough there was a procession of boats of different types and from different parts of the country!!!
Such a busy day. At 3pm it was time to present the IWA awards naturally enough at the IWA tent. These were announced by Harry Arnold and presented by the mayor to each of the lucky recipients.
And then it was all over. By 5pm the crowds were dissipating as the clouds started to arrive. And the boaters started to consider who was getting out first and on which slipway and when the rest were going to go home. 5 Wilderness Beavers pulled out on the top slipway in just over an hour and then settled down for a night in caravan mode before heading to the Ashby Canal Association slipway near the end of the Ashby canal connected to the main system at Snarestone on Monday morning.
That’s the last of these onsite blogs. It may be updated and spell/grammar checked once I’m back on a big computer and some captions added to the awards pictures so check back in a couple of weeks for the final edition. Thanks for reading.